Ravens fail to move to brink of AFC North title (plus Suggs non-update)

The Ravens had an opportunity to eliminate the Steelers from the AFC North race Sunday. They entered the game at 9-2 with a three-game division lead over Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, and they’ll end the day in a more tenuous position.

Both the Steelers and Bengals won to each improve to 7-5. At 9-3, Baltimore now holds a two-game lead over both teams.

Had the Ravens won, the only thing standing between them and a second consecutive division title would’ve been either a win or a Bengals loss in the last four games. Now they’ll need to do a little more work to make it happen.

Safety Ed Reed wasn’t too upset about the big-picture result of Baltimore’s loss.

“It didn’t cost us much. It really didn’t cost us much,” he said. It cost us a loss today, but the season is still going. We’re still in first place and we’ll take care of things as these next four games go.”

The Ravens finish their season with two road games sandwiched around two home games. Next week, they visit the Washington Redskins before coming home for the Denver Broncos the next week and hosting the New York Giants the following week. Baltimore wraps the regular season at Cincinnati on Dec. 30 in a game that still has a chance to mean plenty in the division race.

Several Ravens remain confident a division crown still awaits.

“I know what this team is all about. A loss doesn’t change who we are,” wideout Anquan Boldin said. “We’ll still go out, we’ll win the AFC North like I said, we’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs.”

That could be made tougher for the Ravens if they have to go on without linebacker Terrell Suggs.

Since the reigning Defensive Player of the Year came back Oct. 21 against Houston, Baltimore’s defense has steadily improved. The team has allowed more than 366 yards just once in the last five games.

Suggs suffered a right arm injury late in Sunday’s contest and was taken to the locker room. He didn’t return. He told reporters he’s going to be “all right” after the game, but coach John Harbaugh didn’t have an immediate update on the linebacker’s status.

Fellow players hope Suggs isn’t lost to another long-term injury after missing the first six weeks of the season recovering from Achilles surgery.

“I saw him going off and I kind of shook my head,” Reed said. “You hate to see that for anybody. But for Suggs to battle the way he did to get back, and to have something like that, hopefully it’s just minor. When I saw it, I was just like, ‘Ugh.’ I hate to see him go down like that.”